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Course title: Lexicology and lexicography of the English language

(Lexicología y Lexicografía del Inglés) – Licenciatura en Filología Inglesa

Department: English Philology

UJA credits: 6 ECTS credits: 4,8 1ST SEMESTER

Lecturer: Prof. Dra. María del Carmen Méndez Carcía

Teaching methods:
The subject aims at combining theory and practice since both go hand in hand. In the theoretical lessons both the
teacher and the student (through work group and/or oral presentations) are in charge of laying the foundations which will
later on be practised in the practical sessions. The teacher will therefore present some theoretical contents, whereas
some others will be worked on by students. The practical classes will be mainly devoted to the study of the lexicon and
to the analysis of the dictionary: This asks for the active participation of students in the course of the sessions.

Lecture: 1 Hours per Week Homework: 2-3 Hours per Week

Hours per Week

Exercise: 1
Hours per Week
Seminars: 1

Description of Content:


1. Introduction
1.1. The Structure of the lexicon.
1.2. Varieties of English.
1.3. Relevance of variety classes for the lexicon.

2. The linguistic sign

2.1. Semiotic and semantic foundations of lexicology: models of the linguistic sign
2.2. The meanings of signs and kinds of ‘meaning’

3. The internal structure of words

3.1. Morpheme, word, lexeme
3.2. Where did English words come from?
3.3. Polysemy, lexical entries and sememes
3.4. Morphological structure: simple vs. complex lexemes
3.5. The semantic structure of words: componential analysis and semantic features
3.6. Lexical rules and semantic processes

4. The structure of the lexicon: relations between words

4.1. Units, classes and relations
4.2. Paradigmatic relations
4.3. Syntagmatic relations


1. Diachronic approach to English lexicography

1.1. Early bilingual dictionaries
1.2. Early English dictionaries: the hard-word tradition
1.3. The beginning of modern dictionary practice: the eighteenth century and Samuel Johnson
1.4. Pronouncing dictionaries of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
1.5. Webster and the nineteenth century
1.6. Dictionaries for foreign learners
1.7. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and other historical dictionaries
1.8. The unabridged dictionary in American: the passing of an era
1.9. American college dictionaries and their British cousins
1.10. Electronic dictionaries and the internet

2. Key elements of dictionaries and other language references

2.1. The entry term
2.2. Alfabetization and entry counting
2.3. Grammatical information
2.4. Pronunciation
2.5. Etymology
2.6. Synonymy: dictionary treatment of synonymy
2.7. Illustrations

3. Definition
3.1. Kinds of meaning
3.2. The principles of defining
3.3. Good defining practice
3.4. How to define by part-of-speech
3.5. Innovative defining styles
3.6. Strategies in defining
3.7. The citation file, the electronic corpus and other sources of definition
3.8. Deciding what to put in the dictionary
3.9. Illustrative quotations
3.10. The definition of nouns

4. Types of dictionaries and other language references

4.1. Number of languages
4.2. Variety of English
4.3. Primary language of the market
4.4. Form of presentation
4.5. Manner of financing
4.6. Age of users
4.7. Period of time covered
4.8. Size
4.9. Scope of coverage by subject
4.10 Limitations in the aspects of language covered

5. Usage

5.1. Currency
5.2. Regional variation
5.3. Specialised terminology
5.4. Sexual and scatological taboo
5.5. Insult
5.6. Slang
5.7. Style and status
5.8. Attitudes toward usage and the notion of corretness

Assessment Method:
The format of the assessment will depend on circumstances such as the ratio or students' participation and
degree of involvement in the subject. Essentially two sources of information will be used: a) Continuous assessment
based on daily work. Special attention will be paid to the degree of motivation and participation in class, both in the
discussion of the set readings and in the analysis of the different activities. Similarly, they are encouraged to write an
essay which develops some aspects of the programme and present it orally in class; b) A final examination, including
both theory and practice, related to the contents and practical material considered in the course.

Teaching language:
All the lessons will be delivered in English and students will be encouraged to speak in the target language.

Main references (literature) to be used in the course

Landau, S.I. (2001) Dictionaries: The Art and Craft of
Lexicography. Cambridge:
CUP. Second edition.

Lipka, L. (1990) An Outline of English Lexicology.

Lexical Structure, Word Semantics, and Word-Formation.
Tübingen: Niemeyer.